Recruiting Participants

There’s an old axiom in sales: it’s easier to sell something to someone already buying from you than it is to find new customers. An existing volunteer knows your mission, value and needs.

For years an AIDS walk placed its detailed donor pledge sheets into mounds of impressive stacks in the boardroom. For years, everyone geared up to start the AIDS walk campaign again, and for years, the same donors, walkers and organizers would participate.

The three asks for new walkers, runners or riders
If the three keys to real estate satisfaction are location, location, location, then the three keys to participant recruitment are “ask, ask, and ask.”

• Ask new companies to engage their employees in your efforts. Frequently, local companies have employees who are the beneficiaries of the programs and service your fundraising affects: ask them to support their employees by opening up their businesses as supporters of your mission.

• Ask new individuals from the community to engage in your mission: there are many potential new walkers, runners and riders in you community who receive benefits from your programs and services. They make great new additions to your athletic event.

• Ask those who have already walked, run or ridden to step up to a new level of engagement And start with the donors!

Do this:
1. Identify the different levels. For example donor, walker, team captain, committee member, and chair.

2. Create volunteer job descriptions for each of them. Include the estimated range of duties, time structure and payoffs for each.

3. Analyze the data: with a little research, determine who has been giving the same amount of donation or who’s been doing the same thing for at least the last 2 years.

4. Call the walkers, runners or riders using a well-versed and competently enthusiastic staffer or volunteer. At each level ask them to continue to support and then, invite them to step up to the next level of engagement, whatever that is. Email, fax or mail them an engaging cover letter and volunteer description as part of the conclusion to the call.

5. Continue doing this at each level of participation. Right up to and including board membership, if appropriate.

6. Follow up with each one. Steward the relationship!

The goal for this type of recruitment effort is to manage, proactively, the movement of your walkers, runners and riders into greater involvement one step at a time forward.

Each level of a movement is important because as donors become part of the fundraising structure, they will in turn reach back out to their family and friends, who in turn are the next level of new walkers, runners and riders for your effort.

The key is asking and follow up.

Do this and you will find a never ending supply of new walkers, runners, riders, donors and companies to support your mission!